Monday Sunrise Briefing: Record early voting. Democracy surge?

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, October 19, 2020, sunrise briefing. 

Here are two news events from this past weekend (while you may have been pumpkin carving, pogo sticking, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Early voting at Fenway Park. Derek Martin, left, and Casey Bishop take a selfie after voting at Fenway Park, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Boston. Several U.S. sports stadiums have opened to facilitate voting in a pandemic. 

In-person early voting began in many states this week and total turnout is setting records around the United States. Americans are driven by the pandemic, say analysts, distrust of voting by mail, and perhaps, a renewed engagement in the democratic process. More than 28 million Americans have voted (by mail and in-person) already, according to the U.S. Elections Project. That’s six times the votes cast at this point - two weeks before the election - in 2016. Democrats have cast nearly twice as many early votes as Republicans, who say they distrust the legitimacy of mail-in votes. Democrats are seeing a surge in first-time voters. But University of Florida Prof. Michael McDonald cautions that high Democratic turnout now should not be seen as an indicator of final results. Democrats typically vote early in bigger numbers than Republicans, he notes. 

2. New leadership test. To battle a resurgence of coronavirus cases, European countries are adopting targeted measures. A curfew went into effect this weekend for restaurants, bars, and movie theaters in Paris and eight other French cities. Some business owners bristled at the 9 p.m. curfew as undermining their livelihoods. In Britain, a three-tier regional approach to battle the pandemic went into effect. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, to cancel parties, and remain at home. “What brought us so well through the first half year of the pandemic?” she asked. “It was that we stood together and obeyed the rules out of consideration and common sense. This is the most effective remedy we currently have against the pandemic and it is more necessary now than ever.”

Europe’s fresh restrictions come as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern credited her government’s handling of the pandemic and reboot of the economy to her landslide reelection Saturday.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Embracing victory. The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate defeating the Atlanta Braves in game seven of the 2020 National League Championship Series in Arlington, Texas, Sunday evening.

Look Ahead

Monday, Oct. 19

Economic insights. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak to the International Monetary Fund.

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Best of baseball. The 2020 World Series begins with the Los Angeles Dodgers taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. The American League and National League champions will play all games at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex.  Major League Baseball will only allow 11,500 fans into the stadium for each game of the series. All games will be broadcast on Fox TV. 

International cooperation. Today, US astronaut Chris Cassidy is scheduled to hand over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov. Cassidy has been aboard the ISS for six months. Ryzhikov arrived last week.

A new frontier.  NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft will attempt to descend on an asteroid and snatch a few handfuls of rubble and return to Earth. The mission will be broadcast on NASA’s website starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Oct. 22

One last time. The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled for 9 p.m. E.T.  The topics: "Fighting COVID-19," "American Families," "Race in America," "Climate Change," "National Security" and "Leadership." 

Voting for a new justice. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on high court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The process for a full-Senate vote could begin the next day, said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Generosity Watch

North Carolina State Highway Patrol
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Colby Pridgen with Monica Hines, her boyfriend, and four children after getting their tires replaced in Durham, N.C., July 26, 2020.

To serve and protect, and sometimes to go the extra mile. 

This past summer, North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Colby Pridgen came across a family of six waiting on a busy highway near Durham for AAA to help fix a flat tire. Monica Hines wrote on Facebook that they’d been waiting for five and a half hours on a hot day when Trooper Pridgen came to the rescue. He helped them get one new tire, then paid for all four tires to be replaced - out of his own pocket. 

The kids were hungry so he paid for a trip to McDonald’s before filling up their gas tank, again picking up the tab. 

I know there are still good people out there this man just showed me that there are,” wrote Ms. Hines. “He did all of this out of the kindness of his heart and I really do appreciate him and hope that he is blessed the same way that he blessed us.”

Hidden gem 

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Can you dance to it? The world takes on the ‘Jerusalema’ challenge

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our commentary piece about why some Black Americans support President Trump. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. It’s the world according to Trump: Could Biden turn back the clock?
  2. When migrants fall through the cracks in France, volunteers step in
  3. Opportunity strikes: More women behind Bollywood’s cameras
  4. Dozens of species saved from extinction
  5. A jungle has developed in my digital library

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This is a beta test - an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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